Principal Investigator and partners

Maastricht (UM and MUMC+)

Pilar Martinez-Martinez, Ph.D.,  is trained in molecular biology, biochemistry and neuroimmunology. She is Professor of "Neuroinflammation in neuropsychiatric disorders at the department of Psychiatry and Psychology Division Neuroscience at the School for Mental Health and Neuroscience at Maastricht University. She is the PI of several European grants examining neuroinflammation with special focus in neurodegenerative diseases and its relationship with the sphingolipid metabolism. Specifically, she has studied CERT and developed the technology to measure and to modulate CERT expression levels. Additionally she has long lasting expertise in translational neurosciences, and her research focus on understanding the molecular pathogenic mechanisms and uses new therapeutic approaches in animal models with peripheral nervous system and central nervous system disease.

Matthias Bauwens, Ph.D. His research can be divided into two main topics: imaging of cardiovascular diseases and imaging of brown adipose tissue. Both items start from a de novo design of new radiopharmaceuticals (with radiochemistry being the core area of expertise), followed by in vitro and in vivo preclinical evaluation. He perfected his radiochemistry capabilities up to the point where he can organise and supervise radiopharmaceutical preparations for human clinical trials. Additionally, he provides professional assistance with other preclinical imaging experiments at the department on a day-to-day basis, ameliorating radiosyntheses and PET/SPECT/CT setup.  

Elga (HE) de Vries, Ph.D., is appointed as Professor in Neuro-immunology at the Department of Molecular Immunology and Cellular Biology of the VU University Medical Center. The main goal of the research group headed by her is the identification of molecular and cellular processes underlying neurological disorders, in particular the role of alterations at the level of the neurovascular unit. The research group is embedded in the Neuroscience Campus Amsterdam and a close collaboration is ongoing with the Alzheimer center Amsterdam. Previous work highlighted the relevance of the SL pathway in neuro-inflammatory disorders. Dr de Vries will provide expertise on human CNS in vitro models, pharmacological modulation of the S1P pathway and the effect on the cell types of the neurovascular unit, in particular the brain endothelial cells and astrocytes.

Annemieke Rozemuller M.D., Ph.D., is Professor neuropathology at the VU University Medical Center and involved in Alzheimer’s research from 1984. She was the first to publish the amyloid cascade in 1989 and the role of inflammation and microglia in Alzheimer’s disease. She is the neuropathologist of the Netherlands Brain Bank and board member of the Neuroscience Campus Amsterdam where she is involved in proteomics in Alzheimer’s disease, cerebral amyloid angiopathy and several other neurodegenerative diseases. She is leader of a research group focused on neurodegenerative disorders using human tissue and primary human glial cell cultures.

Monique Mulder, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor at the Department of Internal Medicine at the Erasmus Medical Center and is head of the laboratory of Vascular Medicine. She is an expert in lipid metabolism and is well known for her work on the role of apolipoprotein E and lipid metabolism in cardiovascular- and in Alzheimer’s Disease. She is member of COST, “HDL-net”, was/is member of the organizing committee of the European Lipoprotein Club, 2009 – 2014, the Dutch Lipoprotein Club and is associate editor of the J Alz Dis. Present research focuses on lipid metabolism in cardiovascular disease and diabetes type 2, and Alzheimer Disease, with a special interest in the role of S1P.

Jochen Walter, Ph.D., is Professor of Molecular Neurology at the Medical Center of the University of Bonn. He is interested in molecular cell biology of Alzheimer’s disease with special emphasis of membrane lipid and protein metabolism of neuronal and glial cells. He is PI in several research projects on neurodegeneration, neuroinflammation, and lipid and protein metabolism. His research identified critical roles of membrane lipids and post-translational protein modifications in the pathogenesis of AD.
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Dušan Berkeš, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Organic Chemistry at the Slovak University of Technology Bratislava, Slovakia and head of the detached University laboratory at Saneca Pharmaceuticals a.s. Hlohovec, Slovakia. He was PI of ERDF project targeted to the lipid metabolism inhibitors. He developed a new flexible methodology for the first CERT inhibitor – HPA-12which led to the revision of the stereochemistry of HPA-12 molecule Dr Berkeš will provide the expertise on the stereoselective synthesis of required ceramide analogues. He will be responsible for the synthesis of HPA-12 analogues, optimisation of lead compound and synthetic methodology for fluorescent ceramide analogues and organic part of HPA-12 analogues equipped for PET imaging experiments.

Personal web page at the University:

Dr Jozef Markus just ended his thesis. Its role in the project took Ing. Branislav Ferko - my new PhD student.

Michelle Mielke, Ph.D.